WESTFIELD, NJ—On September 8, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Westfield resident and first-time childrens’ book author Deanne Hampton will be available to sign copies of My Look-Like-Me Mommy (Tate Publishing) at The Town Book Store, 270 E. Broad Street, in Westfield.

The story follows Zachary Zebra and Momma Hippo, who are headed off to town to run errands when Zachary notices something—all of his friends look like their mommies, but he and Momma Hippo are nothing alike! Why is Zachary Zebra different, he wonders? My Look-Like-Me Mommy teaches children that even when they may not look like their parents, it is love that makes them theirs.

“Our hearts match, even if our faces don’t. That’s the theme of the book,” said Hampton.

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The story was inspired by Hampton’s two children, 8-year-old Emmie and 10-year-old Cate, who she said look more like their Chinese father than like her, their Caucasian mother. One day, while walking down the hair-dye aisle at CVS, then 4-year-old Cate told blond-headed Hampton that she should dye her hair a darker color so that she would match the rest of the family.

“That’s where the idea of the book came from,” said Hampton. “There are so many kids who—either through adoption or interracial marriage—don’t look like Mom, or they don’t look like Dad.”

Hampton’s favorite moment in the book is when Momma Hippo explains to Zachary that the two of them get that same feeling when they hug. “Now, when I hug my kids, that part sticks with me, and I hope it sticks with my kids,” said Hampton.

After a half-hearted initial attempt to get her book published, Hampton kept the story to herself for years. When her friend Judy Goullet read it, “She pushed me, pushed me, pushed me to get it published,” said Hampton. 

Now Hampton has another reason to feel warm and fuzzy. “After I got a physical book in my hands, my daughter looked at me and said, ‘Mommy, I’m so proud of you.’”